The North Miami Police Department's Officer of the Month" for August 2011 is Officer Paul Laguerre, who is currently assigned to the Uniform Patrol Section, Afternoon shift. Sergeant Pedro Dominguez nominated him for his alertness and quick response in the following case:
On August 17, 2011, Officer Laguerre, while on directed patrol in the City of North Miami, conducted a self-initiated traffic stop. The traffic stop was conducted because the driver was not wearing a seat belt, a violation of Florida traffic law. After the vehicle pulled over, Officer Laguerre observed the driver attempting to conceal a backpack on the rear seat. Upon inquiring, the driver stated that he did not have a valid driver's license due to a suspension and the passenger did not have identification. The driver was taken into custody for driving with a suspended license.
During an inventory search of the vehicle, Officer Laguerre located the backpack, which contained personal information on hundreds of people. The information included names, addresses and Social Security numbers. Two laptops, credit cards and debit cards were also found in the backpack. Officer Laguerre quickly recognized this material to be consistent with information commonly used in fraudulent activity. A records check revealed the driver had been previously arrested for Armed Robbery and Fraud. Officer Laguerre questioned the subjects post Miranda and was able to obtain statements which proved the subjects were illegally in possession of this information. They were both charged with Criminal Use of Personal Information. Officer Laguerre's experience in dealing with subjects led him to believe that the passenger was giving false information as to his identity.
Officer Laguerre transported the passenger to Miami Dade Police Warants Section for positive identification. The passenger's fingerprints confirmed that he was lying about his identity. He was also found to be on probation with two felony warrants for Grand Theft and Fleeing/Eluding police.
Officer Laguerre was chosen as Officer of the Month for August 2011 and will be honored at the Greater North Miami Chamber of Commerce luncheon, held monthly at the Miami Shores Country Club, on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at Noon.